The Providence Journal is concerned that there might not be enough parking for the Pawsox to move to Providence's downtown. The estimate they used calls for over 3,000 parking spots for sold-out games. Of course that assumes that all of the people coming to games come by car--having 100% of guests come to the games by car is something we should definitely try to avoid. It would be an odd outcome, in any case, being that the proposed site for the stadium is blocks from the statewide bus hub and ten minutes walk from the T station, in the second densest and famously smallest state in the U.S. About 1/4 of Providence residents do not own a car.
Paolino Properties has graciously (I suppose) offered its eleven downtown lots for the use of ballpark visitors, but we need to move beyond that. Time for a parking tax.
Garages are not the solution either. Since each of the newest parking spots being added to downtown will cost in excess of $30,000, we need to think about serious, frequent, user-friendly transit with rights-of-way and modern station-payment options.
Many cities are removing parking. Zurich, Switzerland will only allow additional garage spaces if an equal number of spaces are removed from the street to add to sidewalks or bike accommodations. In Amsterdam, the city removes 2-3% of parking per year as part of the climate plan. You get what you plan for.
I grew up in Philadelphia. Philly has one of the nicest and oldest subways in the country, the Broad Street Line, which runs frequently and efficiently through the entire length of the city. Where the stadiums are, though, is surrounded by surface lots. Do you think many people going to an "Iggles" game get out and walk around, looking for restaurants or shops? No, they get in their cars and head home during the seventh-inning-stretch so as not to be stuck in an endless traffic jam. Phillies games are the only time I think I've ever seen a traffic jam in my home city, where households have fewer than one car per household. Parking policy matters.
But at the end of the day, if 3,000 parking spots is what we need, we shouldn't worry. We already have 15,000. Remember this video?